The New York Jets' plan for a $1.9 billion Manhattan stadium that could also serve as the centerpiece of the 2012 Olympics cleared a major hurdle yesterday when its bid was approved by the state agency that owns the proposed site.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted unanimously in favor of the football team's $720 million offer for rights to develop the site over a remote rail yard adjoining the Hudson River. The board rejected two competing proposals.
"This is a tremendous project with tremendous jobs, and I can go home at night and sleep soundly knowing I am pushing this forward," said James Simpson, chairman of the MTA's real estate committee.
The Jets' proposal for the 75,000-seat stadium is backed by the city and state and is crucial to New York's attempt to host the 2012 Olympics.
But it has also attracted bitter opposition from some residents and is expected to be a factor in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's bid for reelection this fall.
Before the vote was taken, City Council speaker Gifford Miller, a Democratic mayoral hopeful, warned that the fight would continue.
The Jets play home games at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The team hopes to play at the new facility starting in 2009.
Anti-stadium demonstrators began chanting "Sweetheart deal!" once the vote was completed, while union workers backing the plan replied, "Jobs! Jobs!"
New York is competing with four other cities for the 2012 Olympics. A decision is expected in July.
-- From News Services